The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mea Culpa

When JFK wrote Profiles in Courage, he used a number of examples of Americans who went against the ideological and political grain to do what was right, as opposed to what was politically expedient. Today, that's a very rare quality among politicians.

For the past six years, the disaster that is Obamacare has devolved into an almost comical parody of a big government program. Every false promise made about the program has been dashed, as premium costs rise, enrollments flatten, young people bail, program costs rise, requirements mandated by the legislation are unilaterally postponed or changed for political reasons, and Americans lose their plans, their doctors, and their confidence in big-government programs (come to think of it, the lose of confidence may be a good thing). A program built on lies, deception, elitist thinking, and partisan ideology had no chance. What is truly surprising is that at least a few moderate Democrats didn't publicly raise the alarm long ago.

But that's changing. Senator Charles Schumer is a liberal Democrat, and he certainly is not a profile in courage. But he has finally done a 'mea culpa' on Obamacare. The Wall Street Journal reports:
WASHINGTON—Democrats smarting from this year’s midterm losses need to embrace their pro-government roots and refocus on coherent policies to help the middle class, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said Tuesday, citing the 2010 federal health-care law as a political miscalculation.

Mr. Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, suggested his party has veered from this focus to its detriment in recent years. In a sharp criticism, he said Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” following the 2008 elections by focusing on a health-care overhaul rather than broader economic measures.

“It wasn’t the change we were hired to make; Americans were crying out for an end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs, not for changes in their health care,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club. When Democrats focused on health care, he added, “the average middle-class person thought, ‘the Democrats are not paying enough attention to me.’ ”

For Democrats to rebound in 2016, they need to outline a specific plan and programs “that, if enacted, would actually improve lives and incomes,” he said.

“By using government in a careful, focused way, we will provide a shield against the large forces that have worked against middle-class families so that they have a better job and more money in their pockets,” Mr. Schumer said.
Well, well. Better late than never.

One of the key attributes of any effective leader is to admit his or her mistakes, accommodate those who pointed out the mistakes and try to work with them, adapt behavior to correct those mistakes, and move forward. It looks like Schumer, for all of his political faults, is trying to do that, at least to some degree. It also appears that the tight circle of Obama loyalists at the White House remains intransigent—about Obamacare and virtually everything else.

It took a degree of political courage to do what Schumer did. It would be far more meaningful if other Dems stepped up in an effort to corral this president on Obamacare and many other destructive executive actions that will be coming in the months ahead.